By KAREEN DROT
It’s a way-way tie heading into the sixth week of the National Women’s Soccer League and some shuffling is bound to happen.
Western New York Flash, Chicago Red Stars and FC Kansas City are tied for third place as they enter the this week with all having a chance to move into second as they face some inconsistent opposition.
The Boston Breakers host Chicago on Sunday for a second time this week after losing to Chicago 3-1 on Thursday. Boston is currently the last in the league with just three points all season, tied with Houston Dash.
On Sunday, the Dash visit FCKC after losing to the Blues, 4-0, last week. Meanwhile, the sixth place Washington Spirit host the Flash for a second time this year, after losing to WNY in the first week.
Here’s a closer look at the NWSL’s Week 6 weekend fixtures:
WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH at WASHINGTON SPIRIT (Saturday at 6:30 pm ET – watch live)
The pressure is on the Washington Spirit as they haven’t earned a win since week three and WNY is riding a three-game unbeaten streak.
After two consecutive wins last week, the Flash have six sources for goals while Washington continues to play on the strengths of Diana Matheson. The Spirit midfielder is strong on the ball but she needs more support as she moves forward. Washington should look to use Crystal Dunn or Ali Krieger to open pockets around the 18-yard box and slip Matheson or Christine Nairn in the box for a shot on goal.
HOUSTON DASH at FC KANSAS CITY (Sunday at 6:00 pm ET – watch live)
The Houston Dash are in for a tough challenge this week as their goalless drought has stretched to four games after losing to Portland earlier this week, their fifth loss of the season.
FCKC’s Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Holiday – the league leaders for goals and assists – are a great scoring combination and might be able to open pockets around a disorganized Houston midfield. If the Dash hope to have any chance, they will need to find a way to break down FCKC’s defense, including last season’s Defender of the Year.
CHICAGO RED STARS at BOSTON BREAKERS (Sunday at 6:30 pm ET – watch live)
Two lower tier, inconsistent teams have an opportunity to move up in the league standings this week. Chicago has recently improved their overall performance on the field but Boston’s back four continues to struggle, conceding 12 goals in 5 games.
Chicago’s goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc guides her back four well and thanks to her, the Red Stars have only conceded four goals in six games. For Boston, they might need to play wide rather than down the center of the field – Kristie Mewis, who is expected to return after injury, is strong on the flank and if she can connect with Heather O’Reilly or Lianne Sanderson around the 18-yard box then maybe they could find an early lead.
Which match are you looking forward to for this weekend’s matchups? What are your predictions?
Share your thoughts below.
I’d like to see Crystal Dunn up top running in behind defenses and challenging them closer to the goal. She would at least draw defenders away from Matheson, but I bet the two of them could combine/counter rally well. Basically agree with your assessment.